I find that any home improvement work that requires sanding is a PAIN. Luckily the handrails going to the basement were easier to do since I was able to dismantle it and bring the entire rail in the garage.
PROCESS OF RESTAINING HANDRAILS
I had to sand off the finish and stain down to the bare wood and then pressure sprayed it with air, then I stained it to a color I liked and left that over night. Remember to remove any unabsorbed stain with a dry cloth and wipe in the direction of the wood grain. Once the stain is dried I applied a clear, thin protective finish (a couple coats of polyurathane) on the handrail. After each application of polyurathane you need to have it dry completely and then buff it with a steel wool. The final application of polyurathane doesn’t require the steel wool so the finish looks shiny and smooth. Overall I’m happy with how the rails came out. I love dark toned woods.